Unfortunately, we live in a time when catfishing, hoaxes and scams are ever growing concerns and the film industry and crew have become targets. Scammers are becoming more and more creative in their approach, typically posing as industry professionals when contacting freelancers with employment opportunities.
Many of these scams have targeted Production Assistants, particularly those new to the way things are done and eager to gain experience. They aren’t limited to PAs however and are expanding their search even wider into the industry and everyone needs to be mindful, alert and aware.
We’ve compiled a list of some things to keep in mind when you’re contacted about potential jobs to help you identify and avoid scams.
- The sender says they want to hire you before even speaking or asking about your availability
- Emails include few specific details, but are much more wordy than typical crew job inquiries
- Not personalized, seems like it’s possibly been copy and pasted and sent to numerous people
- Mentions shooting in different locations within your area (doesn’t say what area)
- Mentions having hired people in the past that did not live up to expectations and asks you to prove yourselves to them by performing some basic duties prior to getting the job
- Pay rate offered is more than what is standard
- Asks you to pay for things yourself upfront or on their behalf
- Provides you with a real-looking wire transfer or check that turns out to be worthless
- Sends you a check and tells you to deposit it only at an ATM and not with an in-person teller
- Emails are sent from bogus domains, close to the actual names of legitimate companies
- In general… if it sounds too good to be true, beware!
Many of these scammers are finding their victims via online job board posting. They are also accessing various online production directories. Please don’t delete your listings in legitimate directories such as ours as it’s important that you can be found for legitimate jobs. Also, being included in our directory is key to showing producers and studio executives considering our area that we have enough qualified crew to support their projects. Instead, please remain diligent and conduct some due diligence to verify they are who they say they are and that it’s a real job opportunity. If they are legitimate, they should understand your desire for confirmation and appreciate your professionalism because of it.